Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Potato Latke Crafts

Potatoes are not just for latkes on Chanukah! 
Make these hand painted ceramic personalized platters by creating potato stamps! They make the perfect Chanukah gift for Bubby and Zeidy! 

Dreidel Cookie Cutter 
Martha Stewart Glass Paints (Glossy)
Ceramic Plate 

Step 1:
Cut your potato in half. Place the cookie cutter into the potato. Cut around the sides of the cookie cutter and take the extra potato off. You should now have a dreidel shape protruding out of the potato. 

Step 2: 
With your brush paint your dreidel shape and stamp onto the plate. Repeat as desired. 

Step 3:
Using the tip on your paint, outline around the dreidel shape. Personalize with names and design polka dots or swirls around the dreidel shapes. 

Step 4: 
Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Let it cool on its own inside the oven. If you do not want to set the plate inside the oven, then let it sit out for 21 days and it will cure on its own. 

You are now ready to use you're plate! Wrap it up as a gift or stack those oily latkes onto the plate! When you're finished just wash your plate with warm water and a soft sponge and the paint will never come off! 

Hope you love making this craft as much as I loved sharing it with you!

Till next time!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Body Revolution Kick Starter Week 1 Results

I told my brother that he gave me the best opportunity to get into shape.
He's getting married in January!
Now it's time to get my big tush into a gorgeous gown.

Last spring I did Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 Workout and I found it not only challenging, but effective. I lost 10 pounds between Passover and Shavuot so I knew that I wanted to use Jillian again. A friend of mine told me about Body Revolution a 90 day extreme fitness program. So I decided to look into it.

You get (15) DVD'S, a 90 day journal, 30 day online membership, 7 day Kick Start Diet, a Meal Plan, and fitness guide. If you order through the website you will also receive the resistance bands for the work outs, but additionally you will need a set of dumbbells (3,5,and 8 pounds) and a mat. The program costs $70 or $100 if you want the deluxe version (comes with 2 extra DVD's and a level 2 resistant band). Both plans can be divided up into 4 payments.

The program starts off with a 7 day Kick Start meal plan. I decided that I could definitely use a kick in my tush and chose to really stick to the plan. Jillian gives you the exact foods she wants you to eat for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner adhering to a 1200 calorie diet. This is the same calorie amount during the rest of the program the only difference is that in the first week you are basically only eating proteins and vegetables; you're not allowed to eat carbs or fruit. The entire program is broken up into a 250 calorie breakfast, 400 calorie lunch, 150 calorie snack, and 400 calorie dinner. She divides all of her meal ideas into 90 days and the best part is that she includes all the recipes to prepare the meals. So it's really a no brainer.

The Body Revolution 90 day program is divided into 3 phases with 5 workout DVD's for each phase. Included are 4 strength training workouts and one cardio workout.  All of the workouts are just 30 minutes long. You are meant to complete one workout for 6 days, but during the 7 day Kick Start week you are told to do 2 workouts per day; one in the morning and one in the evening. The workouts of course get progressively more intense, but since they are used on a rotation basis it allows your muscles to recover before attempting those exercises again.

I knew going into the program that I would have to tweek a few things.

#1 I'm kosher and adhere to a strict kosher diet, so some of the foods that Jillian wants to you to eat, I can't.

#2 I'm allergic to milk and eggs, so that takes out a lot of the meal choices too.

#3 Almost 7 years ago I fell and shattered my left ankle. The only way the docs could fix me was to install a metal plate on the left hand side of my leg and pins on the right side of my ankle. I tend to stay with more low impact activities, although I am getting stronger and can do jumping jacks and kick-outs. 

Yah, it pretty much sucks :(

I was supremely excited to get started. The first couple days were not an issue, but the 3rd day was very challenging. I was totally having withdrawal and I was out all day long doing deliveries and meeting with clients. I ended up getting a salad from a restaurant only to find that it was totally wilted and inedible, but I didn't have time to get something else, so I ended up just stomaching it.

And that's the day I wrote this on my Facebook page. 

I was beyond ecstatic for Shabbos. I wanted to have at least one 24 hour period where I could eat challah and matzah ball soup and not feel bad. I of course planned to stay within my calorie threshold, but instead of 1200 calories I upped it to 1500 which I think is beyond reasonable for us God fearing Shabbos eating gals.

I never cook big meals on Shabbos unless we are having guests. My husband grew up eating the chicken from the soup and when I used to make a main course it would not be eaten.  As long as there is grape juice, challah, gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, and chulent he is a happy man - and don't we love to make our men happy???

My family and I have fallen into a routine of eating very yummy delicious small meals with a variety of salads that really fill us up. Thank God these dishes fall into my diet calorie plan!

Friday Night Menu
Homemade Whole Wheat Challah
Israeli Salad
Roasted Beat Salad
Gefilte Fish
Matzah Ball Soup (Made with a whole chicken that we will eat along with all the veggies in the soup)

Shabbos Lunch
Whole Wheat Challah
Garden Spinach Salad
Gefilte Fish

The whole wheat challah came out beyond delicious. You can find the recipe here. I used all whole wheat flour and instead of white sugar I used honey. I also used 3 cups of hot water and 3 cups of seltzer which makes it extra fluffy. The calorie count is roughly 112 calories per slice.

Drum roll please........
After the first week I lost 5 pounds and 10 inches all around my entire body. I honestly feel like my belly is flatter and I definetly have much more energy.

I can't wait to finish week 2 and tell you guys all about it!

Till next time!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Print Your Own Chore Chart for Kids

If you've been following me lately then you know that I am busy organizing my family. Last week I redesigned our snack and lunch situation in the house. Now it's time for chores.

I ask my kids to help around the house all the time. They do most of the time, but we've never really put together a chore chart where they are responsible for specific tasks or domains within the home.

Teaching children at a young age to help around the house is the key to develop good habits in older kids. Not only does it develop responsibility, but it can foster self esteem as they start to take pride in their work and become masters in their jobs.

Source: The Happy Housewife

I knew I needed a chart for each of my children. I did not want to have one big chart for the family, but something for each of my 5 children - yes, even the almost 2 year old.

Here's what I was looking for in a chore chart system....
- I wanted them to be responsible for a specific room in the house (ie: bathroom, playroom)
- They had to be responsible for a daily chore (ie: garbage, laundry)
- I wanted there to be a separate spot for Shabbos.
- I wanted to incorporate the morning prep and afternoon rules (ie: get dressed, brush teeth)

I went perusing all over the internet for instant downloadable chore charts, but there wasn't anything out there that would cater to my families needs.

I ended up going to my favorite of all places ETSY. If you are unfamiliar with ETSY, it's a site that acts as a store front for artists and crafters to sell their original work to customers. I too have an ETSY store :)

I ended up finding The CreativiDee Workshop. She had exactly the look I was going for. The best thing was that I could print these charts directly from my own computer instantly!
I love this bedtime routine chart.
I have it hung up and framed in my children's bathroom. 

I also bought the Morning and Afternoon Routine Charts. I have them framed side by side in my hallway upstairs as a daily reminder for the kids to see what is expected of them.

Order it here!

I had Denise tweek the afternoon routine to fit my families needs.
Obviously we don't have a dog :) 

Then I saw the chore chart I wanted, but it didn't have what I needed. I asked Denise if she could create a chart specifically for my family.

The Inspiration.

Here's my original email query to Denise...

Can do this custom order for me? I know this may seem like a strange request, but I think it will look great and will totally serve the purpose I need it for. I would need (5) 2 girl and 3 boys custom charts. I want it to look like your Daily School Routine, but I want to use it for chores for my kids.

Where it says Morning Checklist- I want it to say "Daily Chores"
Each box should have the letter of the week on top - M,T,W,TH,F
Where it says Daily Reminders - I want it to say "House Zones"
Each box should have the letter of the week on top - M,T,W,TH,F
Where it says Other -It should say "Tasks"
Saturday  - Should say "Shabbos"
Sunday - Should say "Behavior"

I would also like the boxes to be blank so I can put in my own chores for each of the children. Is it possible to create squares of images of chores that I can attach to fit into each square with velcro?

Within 48 hours I had my new chore charts for the kids. What I received from Denise was absolutely perfect!! 
I was so excited. I instantly downloaded the charts and printed them out on hard cardstock. I then took the pages to Staples and within 3 hours I had them back laminated. I put velcro on chart as well as behind each of the chore cards. 

I now have all of my kids charts hanging on a bulletin board in my kitchen.  I love that it's laminated because I can use white board markers to write down notes for each kid and then erase them for the new week. 

Purchase Here 
The last thing I needed was a reward system for my kids. I do not believe in paying children to do chores around the house. We pay a house keeper to clean the house, my children clean their home because they live in it and are responsible for it's maintenance, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't earn a reward for helping nicely and doing a good job. 

So I asked Denise to create a punch card to match the set of chore cards she made for me. There are 10 punches on the card and when they are finished with the card they get to pick a prize from our list of Chore Rewards.

I put together a list of some age appropriate chore rewards. I'm sure that some of these will be great ideas for your family! 

After instituting the chores in my home this past week I can tell you 2 major things. 

#1 You must be consistent with your kids. They have to know that this is their routine/job and they have to be responsible for it. 

#2 In the beginning it will be more your job then theirs. You must teach them how to be efficient in their chore. My 5 year old has learned to sweep. It took a couple times, but he now knows how to do it. It's not only a learning lesson for them, but a teaching moment for you. 

I am so lucky to have found Denise. She was such a pleasure to work with and my purchase with her was very budget friendly. Most of her instant downloads are just $5 and the custom charts were in the $25 range for all 5 of them. If you know how much graphic designers usually charge, then you know this was a really great deal! 

When I mentioned to Denise that I would be creating a blog post about my new chore system she graciously offered to give away $30 to her shop! You can use the money to make your own custom chore chart like mine, or you can use it on one of her instant downloads. All you have to do is enter below! I will be picking a winner at the end of the week :) 

Till next time!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Healthy Kosher Snack & Lunch Ideas

The Wolin Family is getting organized.
Don't laugh.
This is not a joke, I promise.
Although I am the most disorganized person in the world
It's not fair to make my children suffer anymore.
I'm an artist.
Nuff' said.

I decided that the first thing I'm going to do tackle
On my master makeover list is..........
School lunches.

I hate them.
I hate preparing them.
I hate making them.
I hate sending them.
I never have time to make them!
I wish wish wish my school provided my kids with lunches!
But they don't.

I guess there is a plus side though.
I get to have control over what my kids eat.
I am pretty particular about purchasing healthy snacks and foods.
Which is not always so simple since my family eats only kosher.

I try very hard to find foods that have
No GMO's
No corn syrup
And I try to buy the dirty dozen organically.

My favorite place to shop is Trader Joes.
They have a huge selection of kosher healthy food and snacks.
I tend to go shopping there every Monday and stock up on everything I will need to make my kids lunches for the week. Mind you I have 5 kids ranging from playgroup to Middle School. So I need a lot of snack and bread!

This is what the new me does :)

As soon as I come home from the market and my groceries are put away I start to separate all the snack in to individual ziplock bags. I cut up all the fruit and veggies before hand and separate them into ziplocks also. I have 4 bins (1) Nosh (2) Snack (3) Fruit (1) Veggies. Every day my kids can take out 1 bag from each of the containers to take with them to school.  I used to do this all 5 seconds before carpool was coming. Now it's just so simple and easy. Everything is ready for them!

Here's what's in each of the bins, but I alternate from week to week
(1) Nosh - Chips, cookies, bars
(2) Snack - Pretzels, crackers, popcorn
(3) Fruit - Apple slices, melon, orange, banana ect.....
(4) Vegetables - carrots, celery, peppers

I store my snack bins in my drawer and the fruit and veggies in my fridge. Every morning I take it out and put it on my counter for the kids to choose what they want to take that day. I refill the bins as needed.

Here are the top 10 lunches my kids love to eat
- Veggie burgers (my pickiest eater - go figure)
- Salad (Jr. high kid)
- Cheese sandwiches (LOVE my cheese maker) 
- Tuna in a sandwich or pepper
- Turkey sandwiches
- Yogurt 
- Hard boiled eggs or egg sandwich
- Cereal & Milk
- Fish Sticks & Applesauce
- Chicken Nuggets

I really hope that my ideas are helpful to you.
And I REALLY hope that I can maintain this throughout the year.
It has truly made my life easier in the morning.
At least I've got one item checked off my list.
Next up...... CHORES!

Till next time,